Big Creek (San Joaquin trib.), California, US
|Usual Difficulty||II-IV(V) (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||165 fpm|
This creek is fairly steep from Indian Pools to the ski resort, then low gradient through the resort base area, then very steep down to the lake. To get the maximum distance, boaters must hike on trails upstream to put in, and they must hike back upstream a short distance from the lake.
From China Peak resort upstream, the creek is rocky and gradually steeper as it approaches Indian Pool. Logs, bushes and strainers may be a problem in any year. Scout carefully. Hike upstream on a good trail as far as you feel like going. Launch wherever it looks good to you.
Boaters looking for a short class 2 roadside run with no hiking, can launch from the back parking
lot and take out at the overflow parking lot to the west of Highway 168. This
distance from the back end of the dorms to the lower parking lot is about 3/4 of a
mile. The creek drops from about 7056 feet to 7013 feet.
Class 5 boaters will have fun if they continue down to Huntington Lake. There are a number of very big drops between the parking lot and the lake. Scouting is easy and necessary. One of the drops had a nasty siphon in it. The distance from the lower parking lot to the lake is about 1/4 mile, and the total drop is about 59 feet in that distance.
The creek probably gets the most use from workers at the China Peak ski resort who also kayak in the off season.
Put in elevation at Indian Pool is around 7330 feet.
Lake elevation is about 6954 feet.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|1.0||Trailhead parking area||II+|
|2.0||Overflow Parking Area||N/A|
The trailhead to Indian Pools is at the parking area past the dormitories. The creek is class 2 to 3 ish from another hundred yards or so upstream to the take out parking area past Highway 168. Further upstream the trail and the creek get a bit steeper.
This parking area marks the transition from class 2 - 3 boating to class 5 boating. An excellent trail leads downstream on river right. Use the trail to scout the whole section and also to carry boats back up from the lake.
This rapid or the next one is quite big and had an ugly siphon under a boulder in it the last time I looked at it. Walk down and scout this rapid.